Comfort Me With: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Dr Pepper


[Photograph: @sstiavetti]

When I visited Austin, Texas last month, I spent most of my time eating at every restaurant I stumbled across. I ate so much barbecue that I swear I smelled like Stubb's bbq sauce for a week afterward. Once I got home from my trip, I was inspired to develop a few barbecue-type recipes of my own. I don't have a lot of experience with the grill, since there's not one handy at my house. I had to think—what else represents Texas food culture that I could make at home, without a grill?

I finally settled on pulled pork, which is something I'd never made before. Funny how you can eat something a hundred times but never think to make it yourself. It was high time I remedied that.

After testing four or five recipes, I came up with one I enjoyed the most. It's got a funny "secret" ingredient that I never would have thought to cook with before: Dr Pepper. Normally I avoid soda, but in this context it adds an interesting dimension to the dish that nothing else could possibly provide. It gives this pulled pork a certain sweetness that just isn't possible with anything but good, old-fashioned sugar. A few other ingredients round out this dish, but really, the Dr Pepper is what makes it!

This dish calls for a slow cooker, but if you don't have one, you can cook it in a covered Dutch oven in a 225° oven for the same amount of time the recipe calls for. Either way, it's a long, slow braise that will leave your house smelling amazing, and that's my idea of a perfect meal.

About the author: Stephanie Stiavetti is a writer and cookbook author in San Francisco. Stephanie's cookbook, Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese, celebrates America's favorite dish by recreating it with small production, specialty cheeses. Her food blog, The Culinary Life, is a repository for all things comfort food related, from savory dinners to transcendental desserts.

Serious Eats Newsletters

Keep up with our latest recipes, tips, techniques and where to eat!


Comments can take up to a minute to appear - please be patient!

Previewing your comment: